As commenter ECF noted this morning, UFT and AFT president Randi Weingarten is speaking at the Democratic National Convention this evening in Denver. She goes on sometime a little before 9 p.m. ET, just a few speakers ahead of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I’ll be checking the speech out, if not in real time on CSPAN, then online tonight, and will sum it up tomorrow — feel free to contribute your responses in the comments tonight!
I think we can expect some variation on Weingarten’s speech to the AFT last month where she proposed turning schools into full-service community centers. But whatever she says, it may be a tough sell. Traditionally the party of labor, the Democrats appear comfortable piling onto the teachers’ unions this year, according to reports from last night’s “Ed Challenge for Change” event, which featured Chancellor Klein and other signatories to the Education Equality Project. Michele McNeil of Education Week’s Campaign K-12 blog writes that “anti-union sentiment” persisted through three hours of standing-room-only press conferences and panel discussions. “Cory Booker of Newark attacked teachers unions specifically — and there was applause. In a room of 500 people at the Democratic convention!” reports Mickey Kaus of Slate (emphasis his). Over at the American Prospect, Dana Goldstein covers the event in detail and offers advice for unions that are struggling to stay relevant as their teacher-members start adopting tenets of Education Equality Project-style reform.